Celebrating 25 Years of Excellence

The Piano Music of Frank Bridge, Vol. 2


Catalogue No: SOMMCD 082
Release Date: 2008-07-01
Number of Discs: 1
EAN/UPC: 748871308220
Liner Notes

This is the seventh CD in Mark Bebbington’s continuing SOMM series of recordings of British Piano Music, which have won warm plaudits. The selection on this disc includes a wide-spanning representation of Bridge’s piano miniatures including The Fairy Tale Suite, In Autumn, Miniature Pastorals, Etude Rhapsodique, Graziella, Dramatic Fantasia and A Sea Idyll

Mark Bebbington, Piano

The selection on this disc includes a wide-spanning representation of Bridge’s piano miniatures from 1905 to the First World War and the years beyond. Written in 1917, the four pieces which make up The Fairy Tale Suite — the waltzing Princess, the scherzando growling Ogre, the calm, timeless Spell and the exuberant Prince are not children’s pieces despite the title and they are more parallel with Ravel’s Mother Goose. In Autumn (Retrospect; Through the Eaves) was written in 1924 and shares the same complex and troubled musical language as Bridge’s Piano Sonata. Miniature Pastorals (Set 1, July 1917) is the first of three sets consisting of three pieces each and they are very much children’s pieces. They were published without titles to the movements, but with children’s illustrations by Margaret Kemp-Welch. Etude Rhapsodique (1905) is a study in chromatic scales, heard in the fast descending semiquaver figure at the outset. Graziella (1926) is tonally elusive and enigmatic in its voice, and yet briefly rises to a surprisingly passionate climax. Dramatic Fantasia (1906), a Piano Sonata in all but name, only came to light in the late 1970s and is written in Bridge’s richest grandest early manner. A Sea Idyll (1905) was dedicated to the pianist Harold Samuel who gave its first performance.

Miniature Suite was assembled by Paul Hindmarsh from sketches found among the Bridge manuscripts at the Royal College of Music. Dating from 1921, they are similar in mood to the Miniature Pastorals but technically more difficult and harmonically more elusive. Finally, the Four Characteristic Pieces (Water Nymphs, Fragrance, Bittersweet, Fireflies) written in 1917, are harmonically complex and technically quite demanding. Fragrance was dedicated to E E B, the composer’s wife Ethel.

On This Recording

  1. A Fairy Tale Suite: I. The Princess
  2. A Fairy Tale Suite: II. The Ogre
  3. A Fairy Tale Suite: III. The Spell
  4. A Fairy Tale Suite: IV. The Prince
  5. In Autumn: I. Retrospect: Adagio ma non troppo
  6. In Autumn: II. Through the Eaves: Allegro moderato e rubato
  7. Miniature Pastorals, Set 3: I. Allegretto con moto
  8. Miniature Pastorals, Set 3: II. Tempo de Valse
  9. Miniature Pastorals, Set 3: III. Allegretto ben moderato
  10. Etude rhapsodique
  11. Graziella
  12. Dramatic Fantasia
  13. 3 Pieces: No. 2. Columbine
  14. 3 Pieces: No. 1. Minuet
  15. 3 Pieces: No. 3. Romance
  16. A Sea Idyll: A Sea Idyll: I. —
  17. Miniature Suite: I. Chorale
  18. Miniature Suite: II. Impromptu
  19. Miniature Suite: III. Caprice
  20. Miniature Suite: IV. March
  21. 4 Characteristic Pieces: No. 1. Water Nymphs
  22. 4 Characteristic Pieces: No. 2. Fragrance
  23. 4 Characteristic Pieces: No. 3. Bittersweet
  24. 4 Characteristic Pieces: No. 4. Fireflies